Charlie Dale is dead, and most Salem probably agrees with his mother: they’re better off without him.
On Days of Our Lives during the week of 2-22-21, Rafe found Charlie’s body after being shot and almost immediately arrested Sami.
Obviously, the mystery won’t be solved in one day, but we’re off to a strong start here.
As murder mysteries go, this is a good one, because pretty much all of Salem had a reason to want Charlie dead.
In the hours before his death, Charlie wandered around Salem, threatening people and getting threats in return.
John, Belle, and Kate all said to his face that they wanted him dead, Claire tried to talk Allie out of hurting him, Steve said if Charlie hurt Tripp he’d come after him, and Ava thought maybe she should put him out of his misery.
And Sami has a memory of standing over his body telling him he deserved death.
The set-up was somewhat silly. Days of Our Lives could have found a more subtle way of introducing suspects than having Charlie spend his final hours running into people who announced they wanted him dead.
And there were some plot glitches, too. For example, Shawn and Rafe both got talked out of arresting Charlie for spurious reasons, and there wasn’t a real reason for Claire to keep it secret that she was going to visit Allie.
I will never understand why Charlie opened the door to his killer, either. He was mumbling paranoid things to himself and losing it, only to answer a knock on his door without even trying to find out who it was.
But despite these pre-death hiccups, the mystery is one of the stronger ones Days of Our Lives has had in recent years.
There are easily a dozen suspects, multiple people’s whereabouts during the murder have not been accounted for, and Days of Our Lives keeps dropping hints suggesting that each potential killer is guilty.
I think we can expect the soap trope to hold true that the first suspect is innocent, but even that may be in question.
Sami acted as if she had something to hide and, while alone in the police station, had a flashback of standing over Charlie’s body holding a gun in her hand and telling him he deserved to die.
That looks like damning evidence against her, but everyone knows in mysteries things aren’t what they seem.
Sami might have planned to kill Charlie, arrived with gun in hand, and discovered that someone had beaten her to it.
She might have even caught the murderer, and if it were someone she loved, she’d do whatever it took to keep the guilty party out of prison.
If that were the case, it’s one of two people: Lucas or Allie.
Lucas has been on the warpath ever since Allie’s rape, and Allie had to stop him from attacking Charlie in the Square.
And after Claire’s trick backfired and Charlie threatened her, Allie ranted about how she needed to take care of her rapist herself for once and for all.
Allie: I realized that I have to put Charlie behind me. He’s consuming too much of my life and I can’t let that happen. And I’m not going to anymore.
Nicole: I admire your determination, but Charlie is living in Salem. And when you see Henry –
Allie: No. I don’t think of him when I look at Henry. He’s Tripp’s nephew and that’s okay but –
Allie: Yeah, I had gone over to his apartment to apologize and later he came here and said he accepted my apology.
Nicole: As he should. Allie, you had every reason to think it was him.
Allie: I know. He’s not mad at me or anything, and he was a really nice guy and helpful with Henry. Anyway, the point is, I’m done with Charile. He’s not going to bother me anymore. As far as I’m concerned, Charlie is dead to me.
Conveniently, Allie told Nicole that Charlie was dead to her and didn’t look all that shocked when Eli informed her of the death, nor by the news that Sami had been arrested.
Red herring, or Allie knows Sami is covering for her? Only time will tell.
It would also make sense for Sami to cover for Lucas.
They’ve swung between being best friends and lovers for over three decades, and they’ve proven over and over they’d do anything for each other.
So if Sami saw Lucas at the crime scene, she undoubtedly would send him home while she cleaned up.
But how ironic would it be if Lucas wasn’t even the guilty party?
Kate also threatened Charlie’s life and Jake tried to talk her out of vigilante justice for her granddaughter.
She can be cold and calculating when she’s in revenge mode.
Remember when she convinced Gabi to throw Nick in the river? Kate never batted an eye during that whole storyline, and when Gabi killed Nick for real, all Kate had to say about it was she was sorry that Gabi got caught.
So it’s possible that Lucas followed Kate to Charlie’s apartment, and then Sami showed up after Charlie was dead and assumed Lucas did it!
In any case, another person I think is probably innocent is John.
For two days in a row, Days of Our Lives hit viewers over the head with the idea that John’s aneurysm makes him unstable and that he was furious with Charlie.
John grabbed Charlie by the collar and threatened him.
Later, he kept interrupting to tell Belle and Shawn that Charlie needed to die. And then he left his penthouse while Marlena was in the kitchen getting him tea, not returning ’til late at night and giving Marlena some story about how he didn’t remember what he did after he got to Charlie’s apartment.
Again, this seems like incontrovertible evidence of guilt. But in John’s case, it’s a little TOO obvious. When Days of Our Lives pounds into our heads that a character is guilty, chances are he is innocent.
I also have my doubts Ava is guilty.
Ava: I’m just thinking about the monster I created.
Tripp: Charlie did horrible things, but he was still your son. You have to feel something about him being dead.
Ava: I do. I’m glad he’s gone.
Her cold reaction to Charlie’s death and her insistence that he committed suicide point to her being the killer, but those feel like red herrings to me. And she has an alibi, though there are questions about whether she was really home in bed when Charlie was killed.
Plus, Ava is connected to the mob. She wouldn’t have to kill Charlie herself. If she’s involved, she likely hired Angelo or someone else to do the dirty work.
Claire likely is innocent, too, since she didn’t think Charlie was worth Allie throwing her life away over, and I don’t see Belle’s threats as being much more than words.
There are also other suspects beyond the dozen main ones who might turn out to be involved. Gwen comes to mind because of all the time she’s been spending with Charlie lately.
Kudos to Ron Carlivati and the rest of the Days of Our Lives writing team for creating a mystery that takes more than a few seconds to solve.
Too bad this murder mystery had to be juxtaposed with the silly Ben/Ciara/Orpheus/Evan stuff.
First of all, Evan’s desire to prove himself to Orpheus makes him very similar to Charlie. We just got rid of one violent dude with a messed-up childhood. Let’s not start with another.
This story also has a made-up-as-it-goes-along feeling to it.
First, Ciara is being held captive by a random guy who works for Vincent and who will not ransom her to Victor no matter what.
Then Evan kills her original captor.
Then it turns out Evan is acting on Orpheus’ orders, and Orpheus does want a ransom. But Evan defies Orpheus and wants to go ahead with his plan to kill Ciara.
Please make up your minds, Days of Our Lives writers! And while you’re at it, make Ciara’s kidnapping actually scary.
Ciara is being held in a luxurious suite surrounded by unbreakable glass, and her original captor supplied her with plenty of books and the best food.
No, she can’t go home, and most of her family thinks she’s dead, but she’s being forced to live in the lap of luxury, and she spends all day bantering with her captors and sneering about how they won’t really kill her before Ben finds her.
She’s not exactly in dire straits here.
And to make matters worse, everything surrounding this story is goofy.
The main action involves Ben and Claire consulting Susan, who is over-the-top enough when she’s really who she claims to be. But Kristen pretending to be Susan is even more silly.
Meanwhile, the cops are so useless that when they discover their prime suspect hasn’t been seen at his last known address in months, they give up the search.
This silly storyline was a distraction from the far more compelling Charlie murder stuff, and at this point, I’m ready for Ben and Ciara to have their happily ever after off-screen, so we don’t waste any more time on them.
The reasons for the Susan/Kristen switcheroo are equally silly.
Kristen wants to stop Chloe from making a move on Brady and is manipulating Susan with the promise of ice cream sundaes in jail and lies about how Chloe is responsible for John’s latest health problem.
Susan [as Kristen]: Kristen?
Kristen [as Susan]: Don’t call me. And don’t say my name. If anyone hears, the jig is up.
Susan: The jig is already up.
Kristen: Why, did someone figure out who you are?
Susan: No, not yet. All I’m saying is that if the jig is up it’s cause I lifted it.
Kristen: What does that even mean?
Susan: It means I have a bone to pick with you. There’s no sundae bar. You lied to me.
Kristen was so obviously not the real Susan that I don’t know how Chloe and Brady haven’t seen through her yet.
I hope that Lani hasn’t fallen for the faux Kristen’s lies too. Susan does not have Kristen’s personality and mannerisms down, and Lani is so close with her that she should realize immediately she’s dealing with a fake.
The most disappointing news on Days of Our Lives during the week of 2-22-21 is that Maggie has left town to visit Summer.
According to Soap Opera Digest, Suzanne Rogers needed to take a hiatus from Days of Our Lives. I hope she’s well and comes back soon. In the meantime, I wish the writers had found a better excuse for her character’s absence.
The last time Maggie saw Summer, that irritating character pushed her to get drunk with her, blamed her for her own alcoholism, and announced she was dying.
All of that nonsense led to Maggie believing she’d driven drunk and killed Adrienne, not to mention that she was not there for Sarah during her labor because she was dealing with Summer.
Summer should have died by now since it’s supposed to be two years later. And why on Earth would Maggie go to visit her instead of her other forgotten daughter Melissa?
And regardless of why Maggie left town, there’s no reason she should have so much say over the logistics of a wedding she’s not able to attend.
This is Sarah and Xander’s wedding, rushed as that may be, and they should choose the venue and the guest list. Full stop.
I also don’t believe it was Maggie’s dream for Sarah to get married in the Kiriakis mansion.
And there’s no reason Victor can’t travel to wherever the wedding is held, assuming he’s on the guest list, to begin with.
Your turn, Days of Our Lives fanatics!
Who do you think killed Charlie? Who do you think definitely didn’t? And what do you think of the rest of the goings-on in Salem?
Hit the big, blue SHOW COMMENTS button and let us know!
Hungry for more Days of Our Lives chat? Be sure to check back on Sunday for the latest Days of Our Lives Round Table discussion.
Days of Our Lives continues to air on NBC on weekday afternoons. Check your local listings for airtimes.
Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.